Obama Mutual Respect Tour: Saudis Emboldened, Iran Already Emboldened

As Obama spoke to the “Muslim world” on his Mutual Respect Tour this week we began to see where the speech is taking us. For all the talk about assuring the Muslim world that we think well of them, and will treat them with respect, whether they do the same with us or not, all that has been accomplished is that Saudis are emboldened, and likely the whole of the Middle East, as Saudia Arabia insists with greater vigor that we bring Israel to her knees.

Saudi King Abdullah

There is this Reuters headline out of India:

Saudi urges Obama to impose Mideast solution – paper.

The word “impose” is a strong word. A Saudi newspaper, Al-Hayat, owned by the nephew of Saudi King Abdullah, confirms the story and the use of the Saudi heavy-hand:

We want from you a serious participation to solve the Palestinian issue and impose the solution if necessary,” the Saudi monarch told Obama, according to the paper, which is owned by a nephew of the monarch.

The translation for Americans is: If Israel doesn’t go along with the two state solution and hand over the West Bank, and especially Jerusalem to Palestine, Mr. President, we want you to “impose” whatever it takes to get the job done. Al-Hayat did not “elaborate” on the details of what to “impose” or how to “impose” it.

Many of us have believed that Obama’s approach with Iran is the wrong approach, that it leaves Iran the time to dally with us, and dangle Israel over the precipice. Nevertheless, Obama supporters believe he has the magic touch and Iran will fall in line with the need to destroy their nuclear capabilities – because Mr. Obama is affording them such respect. Well Al-Hayat has no such illusions.

Dr. Susan Rice

On May 1, 2009, the London daily Al-Hayat interviewed Obama’s new United Nation’s Ambassador, Dr. Susan Rice. According to the newspaper, “Dr. Rice answered questions regarding the Obama administration’s positions on Palestine, Lebanon, Iran, and Sudan.” The interviewer was correspondent Raghida Dergham. Here’s an exchange that we didn’t find in our U.S. media:

Interviewer: “You know, Ambassador, some are saying that Iran is emboldened even to the extent of interfering everywhere – not only in Iraq and Lebanon, but even in Egypt – because it, [that is,] the Iranian leadership, feels that the United States under the Obama administration ‘is ready to embrace us.’ So [they think:] ‘there are no red lines, we can go ahead and take advantage of the situation right now. And we can impose a de facto situation’… What do you think about that?”

Ambassador Rice: “I am not sure, what are you saying?”

Interviewer: “What I am saying is that the Obama administration’s openness to Teheran is being interpreted as an encouragement to some in Teheran to go ahead, and interfere not only through Hizbullah in Lebanon, not only in Iraq, but even as far as Egypt.”

Dr. Rice gave a long answer but firmly said if this is the position in Iran, then they are ill advised.

Interviewer: “What about the nuclear ambiguity? People are talking about nuclear ambiguity, [i.e. the option of] living with a nuclear Iran without openly acquiescing to it – precisely because the Obama administration does not want to opt for the military route.”

Ambassador Rice: “Now wait a minute, I don’t know what you mean by ‘nuclear ambiguity.’ That’s not something the United States is discussing or contemplating. The President has been very clear: Iran with a nuclear weapons capability is not an outcome that is consistent with our interest or with regional security. So ‘nuclear ambiguity’ is somebody else’s term that I certainly don’t want to embrace…”

On a lighter note, I suppose there are many funny Arabs living in Saudi Arabia and Palestine, and Jordan and Syria. They haven’t come to my attention in the past, but in the Al-Hayat article, there was some real humor, from the Saudi King, no less.

We (Arabs) want to devote our time … to build a generation capable of confronting the future with science and work,” King Abdullah said, according to al-Hayat.

Just a joke I’m sure. We all know there has been no time since the 1940’s (and long before Israel’s statehood) and no money, to do anything worthwhile in the barren and festering Palestine.

Thanks to MEMRI